Voting abroad starts in Egypt constitutional referendum

CAIRO Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:58am EST

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CAIRO Dec 12 (Reuters) - Egyptians abroad went to embassies on Wednesday to vote in a referendum on the new constitution that President Mohamed Mursi fast-tracked through an Islamist-led drafting assembly, drawing the ire of the opposition.

The official state news agency reported voting had started and one of Al Jazeera's television channels showed live images of Egyptians going to the embassy in Qatar's capital Doha to cast their ballots.

Voting in Egypt is due on Saturday but the opposition have been calling for a delay and the president is expected to order that the referendum be held in two stages, with the second a week later on Dec. 22.

State media said this was because many of the judges needed to oversee the vote were staying away in protest at the decision to hold the referendum, so voting had to be staggered to move the judges around.

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